Bestselling authors expected at Jax Book Fest


Flyer for the Jax Book Fest, the event with take place at the Jacksonville Public Library

Bevlenn Struve, Contributing Writer

JACKSONVILE, Fla.­­­­– “Readers Beware, You’re in for a Scare,” is a slogan that so many can remember seeing when they first opened up a book by R.L. Stine.

Stine, author of the popular “Goosebumps” series, and bestselling author Mike Thaler are making a spooky appearance at the third annual Jax Book Fest on February 23 at the Jacksonville Public Library. The event runs from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. in the main library.

“With nearly 100 local authors and the two national authors, R.L. Stine and Mike Thaler, attending, the library is anticipating a large turn out this year,” says Jenna Hassell, the community relations and marketing coordinator at Jacksonville Public Library.

Mainly focusing on local authors, Hassell says the program has really grown over the years. It’s also hoped that Book Fest helps kids get more into reading and bring excitement back to public libraries.

“In our inaugural event, we had about 4,000 people who came out to attend the Book Fest,” said Hassell. “Last year we had about 3,800 people who attended the event, so this year, we’re hoping to see similar numbers as the previous years, if not more.”

And with famed children’s authors like Stine and Thaler involved, Hassell hopes to both create a buzz and help kids broaden their minds and read more.

“I’m very supportive of this event,” says Patrick McLeod, English professor at Jacksonville University. “I think it would be a good idea to have more events like this in our community to encourage children to pick up a book and fall in love with reading.”

There will be plenty of fun outside of reading at the festival. Not only can visitors have their books signed by Stine, but there will be face painting, balloon twister, and the Museum of Science & History will be doing creepy senses at this event.

People do not realize how much the library does in terms of programming and events, says Rebekah Mitchell, JPA youth services specialist and co-coordinator of Jax Book Fest. Such events brings the library exposure and helps bring in more visitors.

“The community starts to think of the library not just as a collection,” says Mitchell. “They start to think of it as a place to go and experience events.”